Marking Black Maternal Mental Health week – breaking cultural barriers and combatting isolation

This week is UK Black Maternal Mental Health Week (BMMHW), taking place from 25th September to 1st October. BMMHW is an annual event that aims to promote education, advocacy, and support for Black women during their pregnancy and postpartum journey, which is deeply relevant for the Amma community. 

Our clients come from a range of different cultures and backgrounds, but an issue faced by so many is a struggle with disparities in perinatal care, social and financial barriers, and the isolation of caring for their new baby in an unfamiliar country with cultural norms so different from the ones they are used to.

This year to raise awareness of mental health and to start a discussion about how members of our community can find help in times of difficulty, former client and trustee, Vongayi Mufara, came to speak to our Amma Family group about mental health, to open up a space for sharing and mutual support.

Members of the group shared some of their experiences of the struggles they went through in particular in the early days of parenthood, and the barriers they faced to finding support and understanding.

When dealing with mental health struggles it is so helpful to have structure and guidance provided by a professional who can hold space and validate the difficulties and experiences shared. We were delighted to have Amma supervisor, psychotherapist Satinder Panesar join the Amma Family group for this session to listen and provide support. 

Satinder introduced a wonderful offering for Amma Family members. She will be hosting a therapeutic space at the Amma Office, where people can share their experiences, whatever feels important to them, and she will provide a skilled listening ear.

The Amma Family has the chance to take advantage of an individual introductory session to discuss the project and their personal circumstances, then to attend two in-person group sessions led by Satinder, followed by another individual debrief session.

There is much to be done to combat isolation and ensure that new parents have a community of support to turn to in times of difficulty, but this begins with opening up the conversion about mental health, to foster an atmosphere of understanding and compassion.

To learn more about Black Maternal Mental Health week , visit the website of The Motherhood Group, who organise the initiative.